Voters are turning off their TVs, and not just in the usual, self-righteous, “can you believe these clowns?” kind of way. According to the Pew Research Center, two-thirds of American adults are now getting at least some of their news from social media. With the rise of live streaming video, this means that people have started watching the news happen as it occurs. That makes this time a transitionary period, which is a double-edged sword: On the one hand, political campaigns now have a whole new means of information distribution to worry about. On the other, social media, and live streaming in particular, is the most easily controlled way of getting your message to the public in history. So what do you need if you want to get started?
First off, consider Switchboard Live. The whole point of live streaming is to get your events and political stance to as many people as possible instantaneously; Switchboard Live does that and more. It’s a multi-streaming service that broadcasts your live video to multiple platforms at once.
It also publishes those videos, posting them for viewing at a later date. This eliminates the hassle of having to set up five or six separate streams, and then go in and manually publish them yourself, while also eliminating the high bandwidth needs associated with that long process.
Once you have an ability to stream your content, you’ll also need equipment. A good camera isn’t a bad idea. While your phone camera will do in a pinch, there are a myriad of Wi-Fi-enabled HD cameras on the market designed specifically for streaming on the go. If it’s in your budget, check out a few of those. Canon, Panasonic, and Sony have all been putting out increasingly solid models for the last few years, and a decent HD model won’t run you too much more than $300.
Audio is one of the easiest parts of the production to forget when you’re getting started. At the same time, audio is where you can’t afford to scrimp; nobody’s going to take your message seriously if it sounds like it’s coming out of one of the adults from Charlie Brown. What you’ll need to capture quality audio will depend on what sort of environment you’re shooting in. When I was starting out, I once used a high-end shotgun mic to shoot a video in a parking lot and wound up with a two hour audio file of the sound of cars passing on the next street over. Along the same lines, pointing an omnidirectional condenser mic at a crowd will get you great audio of your candidate, provided you also want to hear every single sound that the crowd is making at the same time. Do your homework here to find what you want and get the best quality for your budget.
Chances are that if you’re on the campaign trail, at some point you’re going to wind up in a spot with an uncomfortably high alfalfa-to-DSL ratio. If you’re on the go, check out LiveU. They specialize in 3G and 4G broadcasting tech, so you can stream your down-to-earth, country strong events from right there in the cornfield instead of racing to the Best Western as soon as the speech is finished and begging the front desk guy for the Wi-Fi password again.
Campaigning is hard. Getting the word out doesn’t have to be. Check out some more ideas for starting your live stream by clicking around our blog, and be sure to check back regularly!